Sidelined by the pandemic, a local artist ran a course of his own to help raise awareness for local charities. Michael Hunt chose May 10, his 50th birthday, to run the one-mile loop around his Holly Hills neighborhood 26.2 times.
“I couldn’t get out of the habit,” said Hunt.
Hunt, who is president of the Friends of the Woodstock Library and is home-schooling hiss children, was set to run the Paris Marathon April 5 with Friends vice-president Claudia Gahagan and spend time with family in Nice. Covid 19 derailed those plans, so he decided to make a marathon out of the neighborhood loop that had become part of his daily routine.
“It just feels like we’re all alive I didn’t want to quit the training,” said Hunt, who has run 16 marathons including in New York City, Los Angeles and Honolulu. “I wanted to let everyone know how weird Woodstock is by doing weird stuff like this.”
Hunt admitted he’s not the fastest runner, having finished his Mother’s Day run in a respectable 5 hours 29 minutes.
Not having large crowds cheer was the biggest change with this makeshift marathon. “When you come off the 59th Street Bridge and you hear that roar, that’s great,” he said.
The laps with his family and others helped him through this most recent event. “They were the best laps, with the people. It was those people who helped me forget about the numbers game,” he said.
Listening to music helped him pass the time and forget about how many more laps he had to go. “I looked up songs that were over ten minutes. It’s all a mind game,” he said.
Hunt compared the run to the game of Pac-Man. “I feel like I had to gobble up 26 dots,” he said. “Your fears and anxiety are the ghosts. Those energizing pellets are the people texting me or running with me or encouraging me.”
Hunt asked people to honor his run by donating to Family of Woodstock or Project Resilience. Family, at familyofwoodstockinc.org, has provided crisis-prevention services and helped those in need since 1970. Project Resilience, a county movement, has provided meals to thousands of local households. More information is available at covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/project-resilience.
At this time of year, Hunt would usually be in the middle of planning projects for the annual Mountain Jam music festival and for the Library Fair. Mountain Jam was canceled this year, and plans are in the works for a different kind of event at the library.
“We’re not exactly sure what the 89th annual fair will look like, other than it will be safe and socially distant,” he said. A drive-by scavenger hunt is a possibility.